So much has changed in the media landscape over the last few years, particularly the rise of digital and the fall of traditional. I’ve spoken with many people in print and broadcast media about the ways digital has become an integral part of their job — for better and for worse — and I’ve been actively using digital technologies for communication, engagement and community building.
The fascinating thing is that the traditional and digital media camps seem to be talking about a similar struggle using different language, from different stages of maturity.
Traditional media is struggling to maintain relevance while the world around it is swirling with information, insight and one of the most important trifectas of being able to report news when it matters: location, location, location. More is being demanded of journalists with diminishing systems of support to deliver what the public wants when the public wants it. I’ve met columnists that are expected to cover the stories of interest as well as shoot and publish video on the web and write a blog post that augments and drives traffic to — not competes with — their column.
Digital media is struggling to establish relevance while the world around it watches the signal-to-noise ratio of the flood of information with a critical and suspicious eye. There are no gatekeepers and with that no quality control which both helps and hinders the trustworthiness of the information for everyone except those that are in the community. There is no specific requirement for balanced reporting except the fear of reprisal.
Here’s a fantastic opportunity for traditional and digital folks to get together and learn from each other. The traditional folks can get some guidance on the tools, culture and multidiscipline approach and the digital folks can get some guidance on sources, responsible communication and picking the relevant parts of a story. While this is important at the ground level, it’s equally important for editors, publishers and management to get in on the discussion though I expect they’re generally dismissive/suspicious of the amateur or too absorbed in financial strains and broken business models to take the time out for this kind of discussion. Of course, I might be completely wrong and they completely open to the idea.
Seems like it might be time to bring these two folks to the table. I have some thoughts on how I’d like to help make this happen. If you’re interested, drop me a line.